Piclo secures £562k BEIS grant for energy ‘eBay’

Piclo, the digital company that has developed online trading platforms for energy flexibility, has secured £562,000 in funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to launch and trial a new type of online flexibility market.

Piclo secures £562k BEIS grant for energy ‘eBay’

The £1.25m project will trial an “eBay” style marketplace, where market participants will be able to search and bid in a variety of different products – including DNO flexibility services, secondary trading of National Grid ESO ancillary services and flexible-power purchase agreements.

Known as Piclo Flex Exchange, the project will be trialled nationwide in collaboration with all UK DNOs, National Grid ESO and over 250 “flex providers” registered on the existing Piclo Flex platform.

The Exchange project will be in active trial mode later this year, with the trial due to run until March 2021

The project builds on the success of the company’s existing Piclo Flex service offering of online marketplaces for constraint management for distribution network operators (DNOs).

Piclo Flex Exchange is a decisive step in the right direction, creating a nimble marketplace with low barriers to entry


Mike Ryan, asset management director, Anesco

The platform will now also support secondary trading of National Grid ESO ancillary services, flexible power purchase agreements (PPAs), local capacity markets and flexible connection agreements. 

The online service will also offer market participants streamlined matching, auctions, dispatch, settlement and payment.

Piclo sees the new service as a contribution to a decentralised and democratised “internet of energy”, linking the smart and flexible output from 100 million “grid edge” assets, such as solar PV, batteries, electric cars and smart consumption devices.

The project is one of two awarded funding under the Flexibility Exchange Demonstration Competition, part of the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme (2016-2021), which is aimed at reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and the cost of decarbonisation.

Building more open and interconnected marketplaces that can accommodate millions of flexible home devices, will help lay the foundations for a democratic and decarbonised energy system


Conner Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility, Kaluza 

Project Trader, which will trial a new type of energy market on the islands of Orkney, was awarded £1,604,264. Project partners include the Energy Systems Catapult, Electron, Community Energy Scotland, EDF Energy Customers, CGI IT and Elexon.

Kwasi Kwarteng, minister for energy and clean growth, said: “If we are to end our contribution to climate change by 2050, it is vital that we explore innovative methods to integrate low carbon sources into our energy system.

“Building an online marketplace where households and businesses can trade flexibility will make our system more efficient and reduce energy bills.”

James Johnston, chief executive and co-founder of Piclo says: “This project marks the beginning of a very exciting phase for Piclo. It draws on our experiences of running the UK’s leading platform for DNO local flexibility procurement and our prior experience of developing the UK’s first peer-to-peer local energy trading platform.

“I believe the Piclo Flex Exchange will be a game changer for the UK electricity system, providing participants with a first tangible glimpse of what systems and platforms will be required to run a democratised and decentralised net zero energy system.”

The initiative has been welcomed by both flex providers and their customers. Mike Ryan, asset management director at Anesco, which supplies and operates renewable energy and battery storage technology, said the company was delighted to be involved in Piclo Flex Exchange.

He commented: “To achieve net zero …. renewable generators, grid scale and domestic storage and electric cars will all have their part to play. To date one of the biggest barriers to enable these technologies to compete has been fair, low cost access to markets. Piclo Flex Exchange is a decisive step in the right direction, creating a nimble marketplace with low barriers to entry, where multiple parties with a variety of assets can offer up and be rewarded for the flexibility they offer.

“All of Anesco’s assets are registered on Piclo’s platform and we are excited to see the results of the project.”

Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at smart battery specialist Kaluza said:The electricity system is undergoing a profound transition to a zero carbon grid. Currently, electricity markets are not fit to deliver this future and prevent the grid from reaping the full rewards of flexibility, including lower energy costs and more efficient networks.

“Building more open and interconnected marketplaces that can accommodate millions of flexible home devices, will help lay the foundations for a democratic and decarbonised energy system. We look forward to working with Piclo on making progress towards this new reality. ” 

At Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), head of future networks Stewart Reid, said: “Piclo Exchange will support the journey to a smarter, flexible energy system, that engages households, businesses and communities in new ways. SSEN is committed to providing a level playing field for technologies, ideas and solutions to compete, and I look forward to seeing the outputs of this exciting project.”

The Piclo Flex online platform supports flexibility procurement in partnership with four DNOs: Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, UK Power Networks, Western Power Distribution and SP Energy Networks.

Over 250 flex providers have registered 6.5GW of assets on the platform.

 To register interest in participating in the Piclo Exchange, email the Piclo team at exchange@piclo.energy.


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